Name: Ed Kirshner
Hometown: New York City
Now Living in Oakland
Years in Glass: 16 years

Years in Other Mediums: 16 years (plasma, neon, LEDs, metal, clay wood)
Website: www.aurorasculpture.com

Phone: (510) 601-5489


GLANC Member for 8 years





Artist Spotlight Archives


Janice Peacock - March 2013


Ann Hollingsworth - February 2012


Johnathon Schmuck - May 2012


Carolyn Wang - July 2012


Ed Kirshner - November 2012




Artist Spotlight - November 2012


I met recently with Ed Kirshner, to get a very different perspective on glass art. He is fascinated with capturing light, in an art form, and it is clearly visible in his dynamic, sculptural forms. Following are the highlights from my visit with this talented artist.

Demetra Theofanous
Artist & GLANC Board Member


What inspires you?

I am inspired by the scientific theories of self-organizing chaos as well as the related concept of emergence. The effects of these processes are often structured and formal, yet natural and organic with one intriguing example being the sensuous dance of form, light and color of the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights.

Who or what has been most influential in your craft?

Both my parents were artists and designers. Thus, I grew up with art and design and MOMA in NY. I studied architecture and sculpture with a formative stint at the Oskar Kokoschka School of Vision in Salzburg, Austria. Exhibits and shows at the Exploratorium and the Museum of Neon Art got me hooked on art once again after a 30 year hiatus helping to finance affordable housing. Plasma being my prime medium, I consumed all I could of the theories and work of Nicholas Tesla.

I could see this strong foundation in design, utilizing form to capture light so beautifully, in many of Ed’s pieces. 

  Fiery Bowl
Plasma Rising Spirit Dancer

If you could look inside the studio of any artist, who would it be and why?

Hate to say it, but maybe due to my own advanced age, all my modern favorites are dead. As a sculptor, Rodin, Giacometti and Brancusi would be at the top of my list. However, the most impressively creative places I’ve seen of late would be Pixar and the Stanford Linear Accelerator.

What is your creative process?

Like Dr. Frankenstein in his lab, I hover over my glass and gas plasma work, spending many hours mixing, balancing and fine-tuning. Still, the plasma light behaves in a way that I can never completely control. I can change or direct its behavior by varying the pressure and mix of gases, or the frequency and the voltage of the power, but I can never fully predict the detailed effects any of my actions will have. Though frustrating at times, this unpredictability is at the very heart of my work. This is the personality, the mystery, the life that I try to create in my sculpture.

Ed at Plasma Manifold

Do you work with mediums outside of glass as well?

Yes, I work with Plasma, neon, LED's, metal, clay, and wood.

Blue Lightning Party Car

What do you see as your biggest challenge as an artist?

My biggest challenge is covering the cost of my work without totally depleting my limited retirement account. Also, not having enough time left in life to produce all the art spinning around in my head.

Do you have any upcoming shows?

Yes, I have three upcoming shows. The “CCA Alumni Show; 50th Year of Studio Glass Show at the Crucible; current show at the Mesa, Arizona, Art Center.”

Tower of Chaos Vase with Cup of Chaos


Thank you, Ed, for sharing your breathtaking and unique work with us! The Crucible is hosting a large glass exhibition this weekend, November 9 & 10, where you can see Ed’s sculpture on display. We also hope to arrange a tour of his studio soon, so interested attendees can email me at demetraglass@comcast.net.